By Chris Gray - CEO of Your Empire
What does an agent need to do to improve their relationship with investor clients? Here are some valuable guidelines.
In a healthy property market, many agents think they don’t need to concentrate on helping property buyers or being concerned about their needs. But times have been tougher in recent years, so buyers have received more attention.
With indicators pointing to 2013 being a much improved market, it might be worth remembering the following points:
- Buyers remember if you have looked after them.
- Buyers turn into sellers, and they’ll look for those who impressed them in the past.
- Everyone talks. Looking after buyers and sellers equally will only enhance your most important sales attribute: your reputation.
So what does an agent need to do to look after an investor? While investors are much the same as all other buyers, here are seven suggestions to ensure that their particular needs are easily satisfied.
Produce a one-page professional overview of the property’s anticipated rental return and show how it might vary depending on different market conditions.
Provide a list of genuine comparable properties that have sold in recent months. You need to do it for the vendor, so why not pass this information to the buyer as well? While some agents will argue that uneducated buyers might otherwise have paid above market rate, my thought is that 95 per cent of buyers will have done their research, so giving them confidence to buy can only close a deal. It’s a safer strategy to look after this pool of genuine buyers than try to concentrate on the five per cent who might overpay.
Property fact sheet
Create a one-page overview detailing all the essential information that investors request. This will not only make their life easier when comparing multiple properties, it makes you stand out as an easy-to-deal with agent and gives you more time to talk about their circumstances at Open for Inspections. The overview would look something like the following:
- Price guide
- Rental guide
- Size – internal and external
- Parking details
- Strata levies
- Council and water rates
- Number of units in block
- Land tax valuation.
Undertaking these reports in advance can speed up the sales process and assist those who are looking close to auction day. As the reports can also be sold multiple times, more and more inspectors are happy to do these in advance.
Build trust and honesty
Many buyers walk away from agents when they can’t get a straight answer, and this is especially so when they think the agent is underquoting. While you might get a couple of extra dollars at one or two auctions, it’s a better strategy to always be upfront and honest. If you can build trust, you will get more genuine buyers to attend your auction, and more opportunity to enjoy the results of natural competition.
Offer a one-stop solution
Investors need services, so make sure you show them how else you can help. Develop a one-stop solution to their property requirements, profiling services in property management, mortgage broking, builders’ quotes, inspection reports and handymen.
Run efficient open inspections
Another key tactic is to manage your inspections efficiently. This can often be your first opportunity to meet an investor and first impressions always count.
Some simple ways to manage this day better could include:
- Signposts around larger blocks pointing the way.
- Looking after buyers and sellers equally will only enhance your most important sales attribute: your reputation.
- An assistant at the front door collecting names to reduce incoming queues.
- For key properties, another assistant can be useful to answer questions. This frees you to spend quality time with the key prospective buyers.
- Use the property fact sheet detailed above to convey simple facts and hand them out upon entry.
- Make sure the owners and tenants are not present as this can put off any buyer.
- Make parking as easy as possible. Move any car that you have access to and don’t be afraid to ask the neighbours, too. If buyers can’t park, they won’t come in!
While some of these ideas may sound obvious or involve too much administration, I encourage you to do your best at each opportunity – great agents stand out way above average agents.
As a buyers’ agent who buys one to two properties a week, I always look to the person I trust to help me get my job done rather than those whose lack of effort has made my life harder.
Chris Gray has more than 20 years’ experience in property investing and education. Chris is CEO of Empire, which searches, negotiates and renovates properties on behalf of time-poor professionals. He is host of Sky Business News Channel’s “Your Property Empire”.
This article was first published in the March 2013 edition of the REINSW Real Estate Journal.